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Sharing vocabularies: towards horizontal alignment of values-driven business functions

Painter-Morland, Mollie; Pouryousefi, Sareh; Hibbert, Sally; Russon, Jo-Anna

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Mollie Painter-Morland

Sareh Pouryousefi

Professor of Consumer Behaviour


This paper highlights the emergence of different ‘vocabularies’ that describe various values-driven business functions within large organisations and argues for improved horizontal alignment between them. We investigate two established functions that have long-standing organisational histories: Ethics and Compliance (E&C) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). By drawing upon research on organisational alignment, we explain both the need for and the potential benefit of greater alignment between these values-driven functions. We then examine the structural and socio-cultural dimensions of organisational systems through which E&C and CSR horizontal alignment can be coordinated to improve synergies, address tensions, and generate insight to inform future research and practice in the field of Business and Society. The paper concludes with research questions that can inform future scholarly research and a practical model to guide organizations’ efforts towards inter-functional, horizontal alignment of values-driven organizational practice.


Painter-Morland, M., Pouryousefi, S., Hibbert, S., & Russon, J. (2019). Sharing vocabularies: towards horizontal alignment of values-driven business functions. Journal of Business Ethics, 155(4), 965–979.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2018
Online Publication Date May 23, 2018
Publication Date 2019-04
Deposit Date Feb 5, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 23, 2018
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 155
Issue 4
Pages 965–979
Keywords Corporate Social Responsibility; Ethics and Compliance; Alignment; Vocabularies
Public URL
Publisher URL


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